Copyright © 2017, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2017. Background: Current methods based on fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) are not sufficient to distinguish among follicular thyroid lesions, follicular adenoma (FA), follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC), and the follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer (FVPTC). Furthermore, none of the immunohistochemical markers currently available are sensitive or specific enough to be used in the clinical setting, necessitating a diagnostic hemithyroidectomy. The aim of this study was to identify proteins of value for differential diagnosis between benign and malignant thyroid follicular lesions. Methods: This retrospective analysis is based on an assessment of the immunoexpression of 19 proteins on 81 benign thyroid lesions (FA) and 50 malignant tumors (FTC/FVPTC). The resulting expression profile allowed the design of a scoring system model to improve the differential diagnosis of benign and malignant thyroid lesions. The model was validated using an independent series of 69 FA and 40 FTC and an external series of 40 nodular hyperplasias, and was further tested in a series of 38 FNAB cell blocks. Results: A model based on the nuclear and cytoplasmic expression of APLP2, RRM2, and PRC1 discriminated between benign and malignant lesions with 100% sensitivity in both main and validation groups, with specificities of 71.3% and 50.7%, respectively. For the nodular hyperplasia series, specificity reached 94.8%. Finally, in FNAB samples, the sensitivity was 100% and the specificity was 45% for discrimination between benign and malignant lesions. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the identified APLP2, RRM2, and PRC1 signature could be useful for distinguishing between benign (FA) and malignant (FTC and FVPTC) tumors of the thyroid follicular epithelium.
- follicular adenoma
- follicular thyroid cancer
- follicular variant papillary thyroid carcinoma
- tissue microarray